18 April 2024 02:46 AM

Address by his Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the Celebration of Launching the National Strategy for Human Rights

Sunday، 12 September 2021 - 11:15 AM

Address by his Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the Celebration of Launching the National Strategy for Human Rights

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Guests,

At the outset of my speech today on the occasion of launching the first national strategy for human rights, I would like to welcome you all, whether being a contributor to the preparation of that strategy or Egyptians and foreign guests who share with us that luminous moment in the contemporary history of Egypt, which I consider a serious step towards the advancement of human rights in Egypt, taking into account the importance of this vital field in evaluating the advancement and progress of societies.

In this context, I would like to point out to the fact that Egypt has been one of the first countries that contributed to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Its contribution in this field did not stop at this date, but continued until now with deep belief and national self-confidence of the importance of adopting a comprehensive and serious approach to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Today, as the Egyptian government launches its first national strategy for human rights, which is the result of unremitting efforts made by the Permanent Higher Committee for Human Rights over the course of more than a year, I would like to second the methodology by which this strategy was prepared, which was based on a broad participatory and consultative manner that responds to the aspirations and hopes of the Egyptian people.

I would also like to thank the National Council for Human Rights, the representatives of the civil society from various governorates, and the members of the advisory body for their constructive contribution to the formulation of this strategy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Egyptian vision of human rights is based on a number of basic principles, most notably:

All rights and freedoms are interrelated and complementary. There is a close link between democracy and human rights, with the importance of achieving a balance between rights and duties, and between the right of the individual and society and the need to combat corruption to ensure rights and freedoms.

Moreover, the commitment to preserving and respecting the rights and freedoms should be achieved through the legislations and public policies on the one hand, and the implementation of those legislations and policies by various national institutions and mechanisms on the other hand. As regards the legislation and public policies, the efforts of the state are based on constitutional and legal principles and obligations. In this regard, the constitution has achieved a major qualitative leap as it established the principles of citizenship, justice and equality in rights and duties without any discrimination and made equal opportunities a basis for building society.

Moreover, the constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary as being the fundamental vehicle that ensures the effective enforcement of all rights. The Egyptian legislative structure is abundant of varieties of guarantees necessary to promote and respect human rights; "All persons are equal before the law."

The Egyptian state also stresses its commitment to respect and protect the right to physical integrity, personal freedom, political practice, freedom of expression and formation of civil associations, as well as the right to litigation. Egypt always welcomes the plurality of views, even their differences, as long as they take into account the freedoms of others. They aim, through constructive and participatory criticism, to achieve the best for the benefit of Egypt and its people.

Egypt has constantly embraced freedom of thought, creativity and expression, resulting in a pioneering Egyptian contribution to its regional environment, in "art, literature and culture". Furthermore, this field has received direct support from the state leadership to encourage cadres working in it.

At the same time, we have a firm conviction of the importance of strengthening efforts to achieve prompt justice as well as guaranteeing fair trials. The state exerts unremitting and continuous efforts to emphasize the values ​​of citizenship, tolerance and dialogue, and to combat incitement to violence and discrimination.

Similarly, Egypt has a rich national institutional structure that works to promote respect and protection of human rights, and it is subject to continuous development. The establishment of the Permanent Higher Committee for Human Rights came as an important addition that would support and strengthen coordinated national action in this field. Alongside, there are units and departments specialized in human rights in all ministries, governorates and related authorities. Additionally, the National Councils for women, childhood, motherhood, persons with special needs and people of determination, play leading roles in promoting the rights of these groups.

Moreover, the National Council for Human Rights, as being the independent national human rights institution, in accordance with its powers within the framework of the Constitution, plays a pivotal and active role in consolidating and raising awareness of the relevant principles, and submits its annual reports to the state.

Civil society comes as an important primary partner in the process of promoting and protecting human rights in all political, economic and social dimensions, spreading awareness of human rights in society, encouraging a culture of volunteer work, and contributing to efforts to combat extremism and trends against the values ​​of our Egyptian society.

There is no doubt that the contributions and achievements of civil society are clear and its partnership with the state is indispensable.

Hence, I directed the government to reconsider the previous Civil Society Law, which resulted in the issuance of the new law regulating the practice of civil work, including the facilities and guarantees to enhance civil work. This follows a societal dialogue among one thousand and three hundred Egyptian and foreign NGOs. After the issuance of the regulations of this law, a new phase of government-civil society partnership, based on the foundations of cooperation and respect for the law, took place.

          At the level of civil and political rights, we pay special attention to promoting the right to participate in political and public life as an important constituent to advance all domains of human rights and contribute to consolidate democracy and the rule of law. In order to promote these rights, a variety of national legislations have been adopted; and a number of independent entities and bodies have been established to organize the exercise and enjoyment of those rights.

          Civil and political life in Egypt has recently witnessed an intense activity. That activity succeeded to accomplish all constitutional entitlements that ensured the people’s expression of its free will through presidential and parliamentary elections. People’s representatives assumed their responsibilities in the free expression of their visions to accomplish the national course, evaluate the executive authority’s performance through a parliamentary session that is full of political interactions and affiliations for the achievement of common good.

          Furthermore, we have completed our legislative institutions by creating a Senate and holding elections for it to serve, alongside the House of Representatives. Moreover, the National Election Authority was established as an independent and permanent entity with sole authority to manage elections and referenda at all phases, ensuring their integrity and encouraging political participation.

          Furthermore, various laws have been enacted to ensure that Egyptian citizens can exercise their political rights. These laws include the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights, the Law on Political Parties, the House of Representatives Act, the Senate Act, the Presidential Elections Act, the Electoral Constituencies Act, and the Law on the Regulation of Civil Work. These laws have been considered a significant and quantum leap forward in enshrining and ensuring the exercise of political rights and freedoms.

On the basis of freedom of religion and belief, Egypt, the country that has a rich religious heritage, continues to exert tireless efforts to emphasize the values of citizenship, tolerance, dialogue and combating any incitement to violence and discrimination. The Egyptian State has made significant progress in this area, ensuring equity among its sons in both rights and duties. These principles are also evident in issuing of the Church Building and Restoration Law, which legalized the construction of approximately 1800 churches and buildings affiliated to them. Furthermore, the New Administrative Capital's "Al-Fattah Al-Aleem" Mosque and "Milad Al-Maseeh" Cathedral stand side by side as witnesses to those efforts and successes.

The integrated developmental vision "Egypt 2030" is founded on ideals of comprehensive, sustainable, and balanced development in terms of economic, social, and cultural rights. As a result, the benefits of development are fairly distributed, all groups achieve the highest levels of societal integration, and the rights of present and future generations to use resources are protected.

             The achievements we have fulfilled during the past seven years through major national projects allover Egypt reflect the national capabilities, whether  as regards planning or implementation, not to mention the good direction and management of various resources to reach the highest levels of development. This had a direct impact on the enforcement of the economic, social and cultural rights, especially with regards to the right to adequate housing, adequate health care, regular work, healthy food, clean potable water and advanced sanitation, and quality education.

The state has paid special attention to the social protection measures when implementing the economic reform program with the aim of mitigating its impact on low-income and needy people. This should be done through adopting many policies, programs and initiatives, most notably are the "Solidarity and Dignity" initiative and the "Decent Life" initiative for the development of the Egyptian rural villages which are inhabited by more than half of Egypt's population, among other national initiatives.

During the past years, Egypt was capable of making great strides towards achieving equality and empowering women. In this vein, women obtained 128 seats in the House of Representatives in 2021 elections; with more than 28 percent. In fact, Egyptian women have become judges and ministers with a total of eight female ministers in the current government; with a total of around 25 % of the ministers. Moreover, equality in the payment are realized without discrimination on the basis of gender.

The Egyptian state went ahead with the development of the 2030 strategy on empowering women politically, economically and socially. The Egyptian government’s efforts did not stop there. Rather, it paid due diligence to promoting the rights of children, people with special needs and people of determination. We have a strong political will that supports the issues of the most favored categories, as we spare no effort to achieve their hopes and aspirations. This has been manifested in translating their guaranteed constitutional rights into numerous laws, strategies, policies and executive programs.

As regards the youths, the state has been keen on taking care of them, developing their capabilities, enabling them to participate in public life and providing them with job opportunities. Based on the importance of their openness to the other, and their knowledge of multiple cultures, we have been keen to provide the appropriate forums in this respect; at the heart of which is the "World Youth Forum", which Egypt is keen to organize on an annual basis, and we hope to resume it soon after the end of the "Corona" pandemic and its precautionary measures.

The state has also been interested in preparing young cadres capable of contributing to national responsibilities. In this respect, the “National Youth Training Academy” was established in 2017, where young people became involved in formulating and implementing development plans. Moreover, some of them had rather became deputies of ministers, governors and representatives in the Parliament, thanks to the qualification programs undertaken by the Academy to hone their skills.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to reiterate that this first national strategy stems from an Egyptian self-philosophy believing in the importance of achieving integration in the process of upgrading society. This philosophy would not be completed without a clear national strategy for human rights that deal with challenges as it takes into account the principles and values of the Egyptian society. So, it shows interest in human rights axes from an integrated perspective and a comprehensive concept of those rights, and in the belief that the lesson always lies in implementation. I direct the Permanent Higher Committee for Human Rights to continue implementing the mandates entrusted to it, and I also direct the government to take all steps that would enhance this, at the top of which are the following:

Continuing efforts to integrate human rights goals and principles into the state’s public policies, and within the framework of implementing the “Sustainable Development Strategy, Egypt Vision 2030.”
Inviting political entities and civil society organizations to show interest in enriching the Egyptian political experience, and building trained cadres by expanding the circle of participation and expression of opinion in a climate of creative interaction and objective dialogue.

Ensuring the equitable distribution of the fruits of development and the right of every person to enjoy an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, in a way that provides them their basic needs.

Strengthening communication with various civil society institutions, and providing all facilities for the effective implementation of the law regulating the practice of civil work and its executive regulations, to provide them with an appropriate atmosphere to work as a key partner for achieving development and spreading a culture of human rights in society.
Seeking to implement the integrated vision of administrative reform, to build an efficient and effective administrative body that follows the mechanisms of good governance and is subject to accountability and the approval of citizens for the level of services provided to them and is characterized by efficiency, justice and non-discrimination.
Developing a system for receiving and following up on complaints in the field of human rights to respond quickly and effectively to any complaints and to communicate effectively with the competent authorities regarding them.
Intensifying the national efforts to build capabilities and training in human rights field.

Before concluding my address, I would like to declare 2022 as the “Year of Civil Society”, which I call upon to continue to work hard and diligently side by side with the Egyptian state institutions so as to achieve the sustainable development in all fields, and to spread awareness concerning the culture of human rights; thus contributing to realizing the hopes and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Honorable Guests,

Egypt has reassured its respect to all commitments related to human rights and basic freedoms. Egypt’s sole aspiration is to allow the Egyptian society to enjoy its total rights that guarantee security and stability to our nation; the matter that necessitates more sincere effort and sustained work for the sake of maintaining the course of human rights.

Egypt sons always deserve the best. Egypt governmental and civil institutions will continue their national efforts so as to realize such target.

On the threshold of establishing a “new republic”, Egypt did not forget to start a new era in its future and extended history with a national strategy for human rights believing in its importance in the continuity and renewal of the national state as well as maintaining the sustained efforts so as to keep the dignity of the Egyptian citizen.

May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you

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